Which Are the Best Diets to Achieve Health Goals?
by Lisa DiFalco
In the face of fad diets and cleanses, it can be easy to fall for a diet that fails to support healthy weight loss goals and may even undermine general health. It can be hard for the average person to choose a diet that supports their personal health goals. In order to help, Best Diets has ranked 38 diets, not only in terms of weight loss but also in areas such as “heart healthiness.”
A healthy diet has become not only an interest of patients that may be overweight, but nutritionists, doctors and healthcare professionals that want to improve the health of their patients and reduce their risk of common conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There is a host of benefits for patients that adhere to one of the top ranked diets from Best Diets. Understand which diets can promote heart health, weight loss and prevent or treat diabetes.
The Overview of the Initiative from Best Diets
This is the seventh year of reports from Best Diets. Diets including Weight Watchers and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) are included in the 38 reviewed. A panel of recognized experts in the areas of nutrition, diet, food psychology, diabetes and more considered each of the diets and did their own additional research. Diets were ranked in categories including:
- Ease in following the diet;
- Ability to result in weight loss, both short-term and long-term;
- Nutritional completeness;
- Potential ability to prevent and help manage diabetes; and
- Possible ability to prevent and manage heart disease.
Nine sets of Best Diets rankings were:
- Best Diets Overall;
- Best Commercial Diets;
- Best Weight-Loss Diets;
- Best Diabetes Diets;
- Best Heart-Healthy Diets;
- Best Diets for Healthy Eating;
- Easiest Diets to Follow;
- Best Plant-Based Diets; and
- Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets.
Diets receive scores from 5 stars (highest) to 1 star (lowest). Which were found to be the best diets overall?
The DASH Diet came in first, followed by the Mediterranean Diet and the MIND Diet. Four diets tied for fourth place. These diets are the TLC Diet, the Weight Watchers Diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet and the Flexitarian Diet. The Fertility Diet and the Volumetrics Diet tied for 8th. The Ornish Diet, Jenny Craig Diet and Vegetarian Diet tied for 10th place of Best Diets Overall.
More about the Top 3 Best Diets Overall
These diets met enough of the criteria to be selected as the top 3 best overall diets. Each may have additional health benefits aside from helping adherents achieve weight loss goals.
The DASH diet is aimed at those looking to prevent and lower high blood pressure. The proposed eating pattern may deflate high blood pressure and reduce weight. The emphasis in this diet is to consume plenty of:
- Lean protein;
- Whole grains; and
- Low-fat dairy.
Those on this diet should avoid or reduce their consumption of:
- Red meat;
- High-calorie and high-fat sweets; and
Not only did the DASH diet rank first in Best Diets Overall, but it also ranked first in Best Diabetes Diets, Best Diets for Healthy Eating and Best Heart-Healthy Diets. There are no known health risks to the diet, and it reflects the consensus of the medical community on what constitutes a heart-healthy diet.
The Mediterranean Diet #2
As mentioned in a previous article, the Mediterranean Diet encourages food choices that may cut womb cancer risk and support memory. There are nine distinct components of the diet. These areas include consuming:
- Moderate amounts of alcohol;
- Little meat or dairy products;
- Fish and monosaturated fats;
- Pulses, cereals and potatoes; and
- A wide range of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
The Mediterranean Diet has received support from The Mayo Clinic for those looking to maintain heart health. Exercise, consuming meals with family and friends, eating fish at least once a week, reducing red meat consumption to a few times a month, substituting salt with spices and herbs and using olive oil rather than butter are some of the additional key components. In addition to achieving weight loss goals, individuals may improve memory function, heart health, prevent or control diabetes, and potentially reduce their risk of womb cancer. While the Mediterranean Diet ranked #2 in Best Diets Overall, it ranked first in Best Plant-Based Diets and tied for first in Easiest Diets to Follow.
MIND Diet #3
The MIND diet is aimed at those individuals at risk of Alzheimer’s as it offers a host of brain-healthy foods. The MIND diet combines elements of the DASH and the Mediterranean diets and focuses on foods that may improve brain health.
The MIND diet proposes participants eat from 10 brain-healthy food groups. These groups include:
- Green leafy vegetables;
- Other vegetables;
- Whole grains;
- Olive oil; and
Those following the diet should do their best to avoid foods such as fried or fast foods, sweets, cheeses, butter, margarine and red meat. A study published in February 2015 and funded by the National Institute on Aging showed a strong correlation between those that followed the MIND diet and their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to the study, participants who followed the diet “moderately well” lowered their risk by approximately 35 percent. Others who adhered strictly reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s up to as much as 53 percent. The Mind diet tied for first in Easiest Diets to Follow. The diet may also have cardiovascular benefits and help prevent or control diabetes.
Choose the Best Diet for Your Goals
There are a number of diets available. A little research into the suggestions and aims of each helps both participants and healthcare professionals decide on which diet may best meet specific needs and health goals. Explore the top 3 Best Diets Overall and other top-ranked diets from Best Diets today.